OpenHatch Events

About OpenHatch

OpenHatch is a non-profit which believes in the power of open source to make the world a better place. We also believe that open source needs a broad and diverse group of contributors and community members to do so. We're doing our best to make open source communities more diverse and more welcoming to newcomers - two mutually reinforcing goals. We do this primarily by hosting events that are aimed towards newcomers. Our biggest event series is Open Source Comes to Campus.

In addition to organizing events, we also maintain a website which helps newcomers learn key skills and find projects to contribute to. We have a guide for projects that want to make their communities more accessible, a bot that IRC channels can use to welcome newcomers, and many other projects. Interested in joining our community? Come say hello!

This website, OpenHatch Events is a customization of RailsBridge's Bridge Troll software. Learn more about RailsBridge and BridgeTroll below!

About RailsBridge & Bridge Troll

RailsBridge is an organization that helps people put on free workshops to teach Ruby, Rails, and other technologies to people who are under-represented in technology. A typical workshop is 1.5 days, beginning with a Friday evening “Installfest” where we get all the necessary technologies installed on the students’ laptops, and a Saturday workshop focused on demystifying the topic at hand and building something the student can share, be it a static website, a simple Rails app, or a Ruby script that prints “100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.”

Workshops range from 20 – 100 students and volunteers, and since we provide free food and childcare, they have quite a few moving parts to manage. In the past, workshops were organized through a combination of Meetup or Eventbrite and Google Docs spreadsheets. This was okay, but we wanted to make organizing simpler, and we wanted to make studying our efficacy possible. So we built Bridge Troll!

Bridge Troll's Features


  • Manages RSVPs for students and volunteers, including student RSVP limits and automatic waitlist logic.
  • Built-in student and volunteer surveys at the time of RSVP for their dietary needs, class level preference, and volunteers' technical and teaching backgrounds.
  • Aggregate dietary restrictions view for easy catering ordering.
  • Bridge Troll automatically reminds students and volunteers via email three days before the event.
  • Organizers can email all attendees or various subgroups (i.e. confirmed students, waitlisted students, just volunteers, etc.).

At the Workshop

  • Easy check-in page to keep track of who actually shows.
  • Organizers can designate “checkin-ers”, so anyone with a Bridge Troll account can help check people in.
  • Automatic small-group sorting with drag & drop interface so organizers can tweak class divisions based on their needs

Want to learn more about planning a RailsBridge workshop? We've got a cookbook for organizers with best practices, email templates, and lots of lists. Since it's a wiki, if you have something to add, all you need is a GitHub account to edit it!

How Using Bridge Troll Helps RailsBridge

When every organizer uses a different set of spreadsheets, it’s really hard to take a bird's eye look at RailsBridge workshops. We want to study our attendance rates, how often students come back as volunteers, and how often new people are getting involved, and those things are pretty difficult to do without a centralized source of truth.

Bridge Troll can be that centralized repository of workshop data, and the more organizers who use it, the more we can learn about RailsBridge.

What’s Next for Bridge Troll

We’ve got more features to add: workshops should have comments, there should be an automatic survey after the workshop, and it’d be cool to have a forecast of the likely attendance rate based on past attendance. If that sounds fun, please join us in building this software.